I woke up early this morning and observed the Orionids the old-fashioned way, camping out in the backyard and counting meteors by eye. Between ~3:50 and 5:35 am local time, I counted 25 meteors including 18 ORI, 2 EGE and 5 SPO. My backyard is fairly dark for being located in a large city though no where near as dark as a rural locale. Stars down to a magnitude of 4.5 were seen. For a dark suburban site, my naked eye meteor counts give a good indication of what to expect. Darker sites will see more while the opposite is true for brighter sites.
Based on visual reports submitted to the International Meteor Organization, the Orionids are still increasing in intensity. The Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR) reached a value of ~40 last night. The ZHR is the rate of meteors that would be seen per hour if, and these are important ifs; 1) your sky was dark enough to see stars down to magnitude 6.5, 2) the radiant of the shower was directly overhead and 3) no obstructions in your field of view. Last year, the Orionids reached a ZHR of ~70. If the same holds true this year, tonight may see twice as many meteors as last night.
Clouds ruined the observing in San Diego resulting in no meteor detections for Bob’s camera. Here in Tucson, the clouds threatened but, for the most part, stayed away. It was another personal record-breaking night with 80 total detections including 52 Orionids. With the shower predicted to peak either tonight or tomorrow night, perhaps my record will fall again.
Obs Date (UT) TotTime TOT SPO NTA STA ORI EGE LMI Carl 2008-10-20 11h 06m 80 23 0 1 52 3 1 Bob 2008-10-20 Clouds
TotTime – Total amount of time each camera looked for meteors
TOT – total number of meteors detected
SPO – Sporadics (meteors not affiliated with any particular meteor shower)
NTA – Northern Taurids
STA – Southern Taurids
ORI – Orionids
EGE – Epsilon Gemininds
LMI – Leo Minorids